Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An International Crime Called Gaza


A fully pre-meditated international crime of genocide has been taking place during the last 62 years in the heart of the Arab World. The victims are the Palestinian people especially those in the Gaza Strip. The assassin is the worst ever terrorist group deceptively called the Israeli Defense Forces under the leadership of the theocratically most racist "god’s chosen" deceitfully self-proclaimed "democratic Jewish-only" Israel. Israel had been created, financed, armed, and politically protected by, mainly, British and American rapture-vision-obsessed Talmudist power elites consisting of profit-seeking financiers and military-industrial complex.

In December 2008 this Israeli Terrorist Forces added another war crime to its long list of war crimes against the Palestinians since 1948. One more time the international political community had become an accomplice to one more Israeli war crime either by being a passive silent witness or by becoming an active participant and protector of Israeli war criminals. One more international war crime had been perpetrated against the Palestinians. It is an international crime since multi political regimes; Israeli, American, European and even Arab governments, had joined in this crime that is STILL GOING ON up to this very minute.

Read The Rest Here

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tactics of desperation: using false accusations of “anti-Semitism” as a weapon to silence criticism of Israel’s behaviour

Ulli Diemer argues that as world public opinion turns against Israel, its racist apartheid regime and its occupation, the Zionist state and its lobbies have turned to attempts to outlaw criticism of Israel by labelling it as “anti-Semitism” – attempts that need to be exposed and challenged as a serious threat to basic freedoms.

”At the same time as it attempts to crush internal resistance, the Israeli state, aided by its supporters in the United States and Canada, has launched extremely aggressive and well-financed propaganda campaigns abroad whose goal is to counteract the decline in support for Israel.

“A telling characteristic of these campaigns is that they by and large do not focus on attempting to justify Israel’s behaviour...

“Instead, the focus has shifted to attempting to shut down criticism of Israel by targeting the most outspoken critics with crude smear tactics and outright censorship.”

For more than 60 years, Israel has engaged in an unceasing campaign to dispossess Palestinians of their land and their rights. Its ability to do this has depended on three factors in particular:

  • overwhelming military superiority;
  • keeping public opinion, especially in North America and Europe, on its side; and
  • making ordinary working-class Israeli Jews believe that it is in their interest to support Israel’s Zionist elite rather than making common cause with ordinary Palestinians.

Israel’s military dominance is unchallenged, thanks to unconditional support and limitless supplies of advanced military technology and equipment provided by the United States and its allies (including Canada). However, military dominance has not been able to achieve Israel’s ultimate goal: forcing Palestinians to stop resisting and to acquiesce in their dispossession and oppression. Israel’s relentless onslaught has been met by equally determined Palestinian resistance which, despite the odds, steadfastly refuses to accept the injustice of occupation.

This Palestinian resistance has called into being an ever-growing international network of support and solidarity. In dozens of countries and hundreds of communities around the world, organizations and movements have emerged to demand that Israel be made to adhere to international law and to basic principles of justice.

Israel and its supporters see these international campaigns as a huge threat. Israel has escaped the sanctions that have been applied to other states which commit human rights abuses and violate international law only because the United States automatically vetoes all attempts to hold Israel accountable. Israel is also crucially dependent on huge annual inflows of foreign aid, to the point where it is conceivable that the state would collapse if the flows of outside cash which prop it up were to be withdrawn.

Anything that undermines public support in the US, Canada and Europe, therefore, threatens the external backing on which the Israeli state depends for its very existence. It is true that the governments which turn a blind eye to Israel’s violations of international law mostly ignore popular opinion in their own countries as well, but this could change if support for Israel were to become a serious political liability. In this regard, what is particularly worrisome from Israel’s point of view is the fact that support for Israel among Jews in the United States and Canada, especially among younger Jews, has declined dramatically. If Jews stop supporting Israel, then all foreign support is in jeopardy.

Threats to Israel’s international legitimacy bring with them an even greater internal danger: the danger that Israeli Jews will themselves start seeing the Zionist formula – in essence, a militarized apartheid state holding down the Palestinian population by force – as a dead end.

If working-class Israeli Jews were to see their interests as being different from those of the ruling elite – if they come round to the view that their long-term interests will be better served if they join Palestinians in working for a democratic secular state with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews – Israel’s ruling class would find itself in the same untenable position that the white elite in apartheid South Africa faced in the early 1990s. Already, Israel’s rulers are debating what to do about the “demographic threat” they are facing: Israeli Jews are leaving the country in increasing numbers to move to other countries, while the Palestinian population continues to increase.

The Palestinian resistance, and the growing international support which it has attracted, have had a substantial effect in changing the way Israel is perceived. Increasingly, international public opinion is no longer willing to turn a blind eye to ethnic cleansing, house demolitions, systematic humiliations, imprisonment, torture, and the indiscriminate killing of civilians, children as well as adults.

Faced with the erosion of its credibility and support, the Israeli state has lashed out by using ever-increasing repression against the non-violent Palestinian resistance. One of the centres of this resistance is the village of Bil’in, which has been fighting the expansion of an illegal Israeli settlement on its land with weekly non-violent protests for more than five years now, protests which have turned Bil’in into an international symbol of non-violent resistance. The Israeli state has been using ever more extreme tactics of harassment and brutality to attempt to crush the village and put an end to the protests, which it correctly believes are causing substantial harm to Israel’s international image. Similar tactics of harassment and imprisonment are being used against other Palestinians who resist, as well as against Jewish Israelis and international solidarity activists who support the Palestinian cause.

At the same time as it attempts to crush internal resistance, the Israeli state, aided by its supporters in the United States and Canada, has launched extremely aggressive and well-financed propaganda campaigns abroad whose goal is to counteract the decline in support for Israel.

A telling characteristic of these campaigns is that they by and large do not focus on attempting to justify Israel’s behaviour. One has to assume that the architects of the propaganda efforts realize that it is no longer possible to explain war crimes and human rights abuses in a way that the international public will accept.

Instead, the focus has shifted to attempting to shut down criticism of Israel by targeting the most outspoken critics with crude smear tactics and outright censorship.

On a growing number of campuses, for example, this has involved harassment and firing of outspoken professors (e.g. Norman Finkelstein, Joel Kovel), as well as attempts to ban events such as “Israeli apartheid week”.

In Canada, we are now seeing an attempt to silence criticism of Israel by labelling all such criticism as “anti-Semitism” and therefore as hate speech. This tactic has a triple purpose: to suppress public awareness of what Israel is doing; to discredit critics by smearing them as “anti-Semitic”, and to keep Jews onside by frightening them with the spectre of anti-Semitism.

In Canada, the Harper government, fanatically pro-Israel, is fully involved in this effort. It has cut funding to groups which have supported Palestinians in their quest for justice, and it has set up a Parliamentary body charged with coming up with the legal rationale for making it illegal to criticize Israel.

If the Harper government is successful in getting its way, statements such as the following, all of them expressions of generally accepted principles of human rights and international law, will henceforth be classified as anti-Semitic hate speech in Canada:

  • A state must be the state of all its citizens”.

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it implies that the Israeli state has a duty to serve and represent all of its citizens equally, Palestinians as well as Jews.

  • ”Everyone born in a state, and everyone who has been a permanent resident for a specified and reasonable period of time, is entitled to citizenship”.

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it would mean that Palestinians under the rule of the Israeli state have the right to be citizens of Israel.

  • ”All citizens of a state must be equal under the law, equally entitled to the rights, privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. A state may not favour, or discriminate against, citizens, on the grounds of religion, ethnicity, or race”.

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it implies that Israel has to dismantle its discriminatory, apartheid-style system of laws.

  • ”Every state must accept its internationally recognized borders and must renounce all claims on territory outside of its borders”.

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it would mean that Israel would have to stop seizing land beyond its borders.

  • ”All states must abide by international law, including the Geneva conventions, laws against collective punishment, laws against torture, etc.”

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it implies that Israel has to stop engaging in ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, and other violations of international law.

  • “Refugees have a right to return to the lands from which they were expelled by an invading army or occupying power.”

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it means that the Palestinian refugees expelled from their homeland by Israel must be allowed to exercise their right of return as guaranteed by international law.

  • ”Sanctions should be applied to those who violate international law.”

Saying this will be classified as “anti-Semitic” because it implies that Israel should face sanctions for engaging in collective punishment and ethnic cleansing, for practising torture, for committing war crimes, for defying UN resolutions and World Court rulings, and for other illegal acts.

The attempt to outlaw criticism of Israel by labelling it as “anti-Semitism” is a serious threat which needs to be exposed and challenged. At the same time, it should also be recognized as a tactic of desperation, a tactic that has become necessary because of the ever-growing opposition to the crimes of the Israeli state.

The resort to increasingly blatant open repression is a symptom of loss of control. In the past such tactics would not have been necessary because any criticism of Israel was confined to the outer fringes of public debate. Now it has become mainstream, and those who support an ethnically defined, apartheid-style Israeli state are feeling increasingly threatened. Those of us who support a democratic secular state should feel encouraged, even though the struggle is far from won.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 25, 2009

Obamacare sparking 10th Amendment rebellion, action in seven states

By: Mark Tapscott

Looks like the steadily growing list of constitutional, ethical and political outrages that constitute the Harry Reid version of Obamacare is sparking a rebellion in the states, as AP reports South Carolina's attorney general plans to investigate the vote-buying that surrounded the proposal in the Senate majority leader's office.

According to AP, South Carolina's Henry McMaster is being joined by the attorneys general of Michigan and Washington state in a suit to determine the constitutionality of the Obamacare proposal. Their initiative was prompted by a request from South Carolina's two senators, Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint, both Republicans.

Attorneys-general in at least four other states are also considering joining McMasters, according to AP. A move by a group of states to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare could reinvigorate the efficacy of the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the states or the people all rights not specifically granted to the federal government.

Graham has been all over cable news today visibly angry about the vote-buying by Reid that secured the votes of Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as possibly other senators as yet unknown.

DeMint has also been active, especially on the issue of the Reid amendment's provision seeking to bar future congresses from changing even a single word of Section 3403 on the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB).

The IMAB will become the federal health care ground zero under Obamacare if it becomes law. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a link to DeMint's floor speech on the issue and additional information, analyses, and links.

Nelson's deal with Reid has attracted the most attention because it exempts Nebraska from paying its share of Medicaid expenses in perpetuity. Medicaid expenditures are among the most expensive federal mandates on state governments, and the Obamacare bill will significantly increase costs for all other states that don't somehow wangle a similar deal.

It also raises a constitutional issue, which McMasters explained in a statement issued earlier today:

"The Nelson provision is unusual in that there is not cut off date or phase out. Many provisions in federal law have a sunset date -- say 2, 5, 10, or even 20 years-- but this provision will continue in perpetuity. Quite obviously, this issue raises very serious concerns about equity, tax fairness as well as the constitutionality of having federal tax levies and mandates that treat one state differently from all the others.

"If the Nelson provision is not unprecedented, I feel comfortable in saying it is an exceptionally rare occurrence. States generally are treated in a similar manner. In this case, Nebraska will be treated in a widely divergent manner than any other state.

"Beginning today, I have instructed my attorneys to begin looking into the constitutionality of this provision and exploring the options that may be available to South Carolina and other states to defend taxpayers should this provision ultimately become law."

My colleague David Freddoso wonders what might happen if the governors of states bordering Nebraska - Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa, and Missouri - announce that they are no longer funding their Medicaid programs and encourage those needing Medicaid services to visit the Cornhusker state.

Source: The Washington Examiner

Bookmark and Share

US campaign for academic boycott gaining strength

The following press release was issued by the United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) on 23 December 2009:

27 December 2009 marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of "Operation Cast Lead," Israel's 22-day assault on the captive population of Gaza, which killed 1,400 people, one third of them children, and injured more than 5,300. During this war on an impoverished, mostly refugee population, Israel targeted civilians, using internationally-proscribed white phosphorous bombs, deprived them of power, water and other essentials, and sought to destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian civil society, including hospitals, administrative buildings and UN facilities. It targeted with peculiar consistency educational institutions of all kinds: the Islamic University of Gaza, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, at least ten UNRWA schools, one of which was sheltering internally displaced Palestinian civilians with nowhere to flee, and tens of other schools and educational facilities.

While world leaders have tragically failed to come to Gaza's help, civilians everywhere are rallying to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people, with anniversary vigils taking place this week in New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and many more cities and towns in the US and world-wide.

The United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was formed in the immediate aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, bringing together educators of conscience who were unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions. Today, over 500 US-based academics, authors, artists, musicians, poets and other arts professionals have endorsed our call. Our academic endorsers include postcolonial critics and transnational feminists Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Indigenous scholars J. Kehaulani Kauanui and Andrea Smith, philosopher Judith Butler, Black studies scholars Cedric Robinson, Fred Moten, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, and intellectual historian Joseph Massad.

"Cultural workers" who have endorsed our call include well known author Barbara Ehrenreich, The Electronic Intifada cofounder Ali Abunimah, poets Adrienne Rich and Lisa Suhair Majjaj, International Solidarity Movement cofounder and documentary filmmaker Adam Shapiro, Jordan Flaherty of Left Turn Magazine, and Adrienne Maree Brown of the Ruckus Society.

Among the 34 organizations supporting our mission are and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the Green Party, Code Pink, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Artists Against Apartheid and Teachers Against the Occupation.
The Advisory Board of the United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has grown to include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hamid Dabashi, Lawrence Davidson, Bill Fletcher Jr., Glen Ford, Mark Gonzales, Marilyn Hacker, Edward Herman, Annemarie Jacir, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Robin Kelley, Ilan Pappe, James Petras, Vijay Prashad, Andrenne Rich, Michel Shehadeh and Lisa Taraki.

Israeli academics listed among the organization's International Endorsers have also joined us, including Emmanuel Farjoun, Hebrew University; Rachel Giora, Tel Aviv University; Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University; Kobi Snitz, Technion; and Ilan Pappe now at Exeter.

The USACBI Mission Statement calls for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions in support of an appeal by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Individual Israelis are not targeted by the boycott.

Specifically, supporters are asked to:

(1) Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions that do not vocally oppose Israeli state policies against Palestine;

(2) Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

(3) Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;

(4) Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;

(5) Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

This boycott, modeled upon the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that put an end to South African apartheid, is to continue until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Source: The Electronic Intifada

Bookmark and Share

FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda

FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda

by Will Chen

I love It's a Wonderful Life because it teaches us that family, friendship, and virtue are the true definitions of wealth.

In 1947, however, the FBI considered this anti-consumerist message as subversive Communist propaganda (read original FBI memo).

According to Professor John Noakes of Franklin and Marshall College, the FBI thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man.

The FBI specifically detested the way Mr. Potter was portrayed:

The casting of Lionel Barrymore as a "scrooge-type" resulted in the loathsome Mr. Potter becoming the most hated person in the film. According to the official FBI report, "this was a common trick used by the communists."

"What's interesting in the FBI critique is that the Baileys were also bankers," said Noakes. " and what is really going on is a struggle between the big-city banker (Potter) and the small banker (the Baileys). Capra was clearly on side of small capitalism and the FBI was on the side of big capitalism.

The FBI misinterpreted this classic struggle as communist propaganda. I would argue that 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a poignant movie about the transition in the U.S. between small and big capitalism, with Jimmy Stewart personifying the last hope for a small town. It's a lot like the battle between Home Depot and the mom and pop hardware store." Source: Franklin and Marshall College and Delilah Boyd

Link to the story and the original FBI memo:

Bookmark and Share

Israel Hijacks West Bank Christmas

The Israeli occupation forces are hijacking the spirit of Christmas in the occupied West Bank, restricting tourists' movement and portraying Bethlehem as unsafe war zone.

"When tourists see the wall, they think they are going into a war zone," Adnan Suboh, who owns a souvenir shop in Bethlehem market, told the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, December 23, referring to the Israeli separation wall.

Tourists trying to enter Bethlehem to visit the Nativity church, built on the site where Jesus is said to have been born, are faced with crippling Israeli restrictions.

This includes the Israeli separation wall, a 700km-long mix of electronic fences, concrete walls, trenches, and closed military roads, as well as a series of checkpoints manned by armed soldiers.

Palestinian traders and hoteliers say this is preventing them from benefiting from the expected record number of 1.4 million visitors during the Christmas season.

Bethlehem’s top hotels expect only 30 percent occupancy during Christmas after Israel convinced many tourists that it is unsafe to stay in West Bank.

Despite being so close, few tourists ever wander West Bank markets and souvenir stalls.

"They are afraid and want to leave as soon as possible because they have been convinced they have reason to fear."

Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.

Thousands of Christian pilgrims flock to Bethlehem every year to celebrate Christmas at the historical Nativity Church.


Palestinian Tourism Minister Khouloud Daibes also criticized the Israeli restrictive tactics in Bethlehem.

"They want to reduce Bethlehem visits to just a few hours," she told the Telegraph.

"Through tourism, we can create jobs and create hope.

"Sadly, on a political level, Israel is not mentally ready to share either the responsibility or the benefits."

Daibes said the West Bank receives just five percent of total religious tourism revenues.

"The problem is they are not ready to deal with us as equal partners."

The minister warned that the Israeli measures have negative impact on peace prospects.

"We see tourism as a major aspect of development for not only the Palestinian economy but also the Israeli economy," she said.

"It could even lead to a positive environment for peace.

Bookmark and Share

Salon, Huffington Post and Daily Kos hotbeds of anti-Semitism!

Or so claims what Alternet’s Josh Holland calls a “ridiculous” new study by the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs. Holland writes:

Given how ubiquitous unsubstantiated charges of anti-Semitism have become in the debate over the Middle East conflict, I’m tempted to ignore the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs’ recent “report” supposedly exposing the liberal blogosphere as a teaming hotbed of raw Jew-hatred.

It’s easy to dismiss. It may dress itself as some sort of empirical research project, but the “study” is transparently devoid of any informational value, intellectually bankrupt and clearly the product of working backwards from a conclusion arrived at on ideological grounds.

But I won’t ignore it, because the strategic decision to pin one’s political opponents with charges of anti-Semitism only dilutes the power of that word. Then, like the boy who cried wolf, when real anti-Semitism rears its decidedly ugly head the word loses its all-important power to shame. I’m Jewish, and I don’t fear sharp-elbowed criticism of Israeli policy on websites, so it’s not in my interest to allow it to be conflated with true anti-Semitism, which is absolutely no joke.

Most of what passes for anti-Semitism in this new “report” is nothing new to readers of Muzzlewatch, and you should read Holland’s full piece where he does a fantastic job of dissecting the terrible methodology of this blatantly propagandistic report. But this is the part of Holland’s analysis I find most heart-breakingly sad and true:

It’s a slanderous report, and just to bring home the point of how dangerous it is to minimize real anti-Semitism by bitching about mean commenters on websites: I’m on various list-servs with progressives who write about Israel and Palestine — most of them Jewish — and when the report was issued our reaction was: ‘what do you have to do to get on this list — why weren’t we included?’

When you have progressive Jewish writers looking at charges of anti-Semitism as a badge of courage, it’s time to re-think your tactics.

And what other tactics do those geniuses over at the (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Institute for Global Jewish Affairs have to offer us?

In “How to Fight the Campus Battle against Old and New Anti-Semites:
Motifs, Strategies, and Methods”,
author Manfred Gerstenfeld seems to have absolutely no idea that Israel is consistently in violation of international law. He therefore consistently conflates authentic anti-Jewish hatred with virtually all criticism of Israel, making the following suggestion for embracing campus-based tactics that require a “low investment of human and financial resources and a potential high return in terms of damage to the enemy”:

  • The methods to be used in the battle against anti-Semitism on campus should include counterattack, ridicule, exposure, “name and shame,” monitoring, documentation, mobilizing lawyers for arguing, as well as legal actions. Crucial battles against anti-Semitism are often fought with one hand behind the back. This facilitates free anti-Semitic lunches for the attackers.

Of course, those tactics are already in use everywhere on campuses, just ask Daniel Pipes. Are they likely to help those of us who sincerely want to fight anti-Semitism, seeing it as linked to all forms of bigotry? Guess.

Source: Jewish Voice for Peace's Muzzle Watch

Bookmark and Share

“If everything is anti-Semitism, then there is no anti-Semitism at all.”

The (Israeli) Alternative Information Center’s Michael Warschawski has this to say on the use, and the empyting of all meaning, of the charge of anti-Semitism:

An Outrageous and Pathetic Weapon Against BDS: Stop Instrumentalizing Anti-Semitism!

Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney .

Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney .

Every time the State of Israel is confronted with substantial international criticism for its political behavior and its violations of basic international standards, it counter-attacks by using the infamous tool of accusations of anti-Semitism. One remembers the campaign on anti-Semitism launched by Ariel Sharon and his friends throughout the world, Jews and non-Jews, after the murder of Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza in September 2000, in order to create a diversion (in the very words of Roger Cukierman, then chairman of the French Jewish umbrella organization—CRIF) and to transform the victim into a victimizer and the victimizer into a victim: for more than two years, western media “exposed” the anti-Semitism of the critics of Israel instead of denouncing the massacres committed by the Israeli military in Gaza and the West Bank.Sixty five years after the end of WWII, the ashes of the victims of Nazi genocide have not yet disappeared from the sky of Poland, and the accusation of anti-Semitism remains connected to one of the bloodiest crimes of the twentieth century; as French journalist, Daniel Mermet, one of the targets of this campaign, pointed at, “no accusation can be worse, and even after you are proved not guilty of charge, the bad smell of such an accusation will be with you forever.”

The massacre in Gaza, a year ago, provoked a world-wide outrage, bigger even than in 2000-2002. The U.N. was forced to appoint an inquiry commission, and its report—the Goldstone report—is devastating for Israel. Moreover, for the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel, an international campaign calling for sanctions against Israel for its innumerous violations of international law, has been successful in drawing huge public attention and initiating a great number of mobilizations and initiatives around the world.

For the Israeli government and its friends, the time has come to take from the shelf the rusty old weapon of anti-Semitism accusations, a message that was heard loud and clear by the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney. At the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, held in Jerusalem on 16 December, the Minister stated: “We have articulated and implemented a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism.” So far so good, but he continued: “We have defunded organizations, most recently like Kairos, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott (against Israel).”

Accusing Kairos, an umbrella organization that includes most of the Christian churches in Canada, of anti-Semitism is ridiculous and pathetic. Ridiculous, because the record of Kairos is crystal clear on that issue of BDS and it its position is not the one that Minister Kenney accuses it of, and pathetic, because it is a re-heated dish that will not work a second time.

Already in 2004, there were signs indicating that the instrumentalization of anti-Semitism by Israeli propaganda machine was losing its efficiency and even becoming counter-productive; no doubt that, five years later, only a few people will accept to be blackmailed by such an outrageous false-accusation.

Worse, however, is that this old/new maneuver by “friends” of Israel like Kenney, is a symptom of the banalization of anti-Semitism. If everything is anti-Semitism, then there is no anti-Semitism at all. But, unfortunately, anti-Semitism has not disappeared from our world, and manipulating it for goals that have nothing to do with it, is playing right into the hands of the real anti-Semites.

To Jason Kenney, one must say very clearly “stay out of our struggle against anti-Semitism, and do not try to manipulate it for causes totally foreign to the anti-racist values which are motivating it. It is too important and too serious to be instrumentalized by your political agenda.”

We are proud of the success of the international BDS campaign. Minister Kenney may disagree with it, but hands off of any accusation of anti-Semitism concerning our campaign. Anti-Semitism is a dangerous threat to the public health of our societies and so are accusations that are manipulated for a political agenda that has nothing to do with it.

Source: Jewish Voice For Peace's Muzzle Watch

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Every parent a suspect

..The criteria have changed slightly, but the Vetting and Barring Scheme still creates an atmosphere of suspicion and fear"Soft intelligence" is the phrase used by the head of the Independent Standards Authority (ISA), Sir Roger Singleton, in explanation of the sort of information his quango will seek to vet 9 million people who have contact with children. It's a pity this ghoul of bureaucratic suspicion doesn't use the more easily understood words of "rumour" and "unfounded and malicious gossip" because that is what soft intelligence is. It will not be proven by a court or any kind of formal hearing but will linger like a bad smell around the names of many innocent people, who of course will not be able to challenge the decisions of the ISA.

Read The rest Here

Bookmark and Share





Asher Moses

Sydney Morning Herald
December 15, 2009
Australia's Federal Government has announced it will proceed with controversial plans to censor the internet after Government-..commissioned trials found filtering a blacklist of banned sites was accurate and would not slow down the internet.

But critics, including the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia and the Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam, said the trial results were not surprising and the policy was still fundamentally flawed.

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said today he would introduce legislation just before next year's elections to force ISPs to block a blacklist of "refused classification".. (RC) websites for all Australian internet users.

The blacklist... would be compiled using a public complaints mechanism, Government censors and URLs provided by international agencies...He (Conroy) said about 15 western countries had encouraged or enforced internet filtering, and there was no reason why Australians should not have similar protection...
..At what point does internet filtering become censorship?

Read The rest Here

Bookmark and Share

Bread and Circuses, an Old Idea in a New Era

By Timothy V. Gatto

The way words are used, the way people, places and things are described, will make a difference regardless of the subject matter. Today I was reading USA Today (Friday Dec 18, 2009), specifically a letter titled “Independents Unite!” about the possible creation of a third party. In the letter the writer (Alan Mohr) wrote that we should drive the extremists from both political parties from office. I agree whole-heartedly with him, but in the next paragraph he writes;

“Another solution would be to have a new national third party, one that would appeal to independents and the moderates of the two major parties. Such a bloc could control Congress and be a positive influence and do what is best for America.”

I mentioned this particular letter because of the word extremists and moderates. Just what is considered an extremist? The extreme left is constantly mentioned when referring to the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Yet, I have not really read anything that actually describes what is so extreme in their views. Does supporting a single-payer health care system brand one as extreme? Does supporting a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan make one an extremist? Does favoring cutting the American military budget that currently accounts for over 42% of the entire world military spending count as extreme? Just what makes the left of the Democratic Party so extreme?

What about the right of the Republican Party? Do hard core beliefs about immigration make the far-right extreme? Does supporting the endless wars against “terrorism” make these people extreme? Much more has been written about the extreme right than the extreme left, probably because of the change of government from Republican to Democrat. Still, much of what is written about the extreme right and the extreme left, describes a minority of the two parties.

The other part of the letter, the part about the moderates, disturbs me. Just what is a moderate? From what I have come to understand, a moderate is someone that disagrees very little with the leadership of the two political parties. If you put Republican moderates against Democratic moderates, I doubt that you could tell them apart. Then why does the writer of this letter support a new party of moderates? Wouldn’t this leave the two major parties at the hands of extremists? Maybe a better idea would to have new parties for the so-called “extremists”? In fact wouldn’t it be better just to have more strong political parties than to have only two powerful ones?

I believe that while I agree with the writer that we should have another party or two, people in America have deluded themselves into believing that the Democrats and Republicans represent any type of real choice for the people of this country. I have written time and time again that the two parties are controlled by the corporate interests that not only control the Federal government, but also the major media outlets that provide the information most Americans rely on to make their political decisions.

The two political parties operate without regard for the wishes of the electorate. They are confident that whatever party is in control, the same basic strategies, political and military, that they plan behind closed doors will happen regardless of public opinion. If there is opposition to the policies of the government, the media will eventually bring the people along.

Except for the extremists, people such as me and others like me that don’t get their news from the MSM. We are the people that the media and government need to marginalize. This country would be a far different place if people started to look for their news from different sources than the major networks. Great Britain may be another “security state” like the U.S., but their media has remained independent of government interference to a greater degree than ours. We have free and independent media, but these sources are found mostly on the internet. Television, because of corporate sponsorship, is a very meager outlet for true, independent news. This may be why many politicians belittle the internet as a source for news.

This nation is in dire straits. The letter that Alan Mohr wrote was close to identifying the problem, but he missed the mark. When the government controls the sources of information to the people, than they control the people, but we are not at that point yet. There are many sources of information, national and international and they can be found using a computer. The problem is that Americans don’t feel that they need to have alternatives to network news. This is the crux of the problem. Many of us are making decisions about our political future and evaluating our elected officials without the facts we need to make informed decisions. We hear more about celebrities than we do about what is really happening on the planet. This is not by choice, it is by design. The Romans Empire controlled their people with bread and circuses. That example has not been lost on modern leaders. Don’t believe the myth of “American Exceptionalism”; we are just as gullible as any other civilization. We live in a “security state” of huge proportions. We are led to believe we are in a constant state of siege, hence the need to constantly mention the threat of terrorism. We can change the way things are. It’s as simple as expanding our sources of information and of re-learning to “question authority”.

Source: Dandelion Salad

Bookmark and Share


Murderers and Criminals, that's what they are.
All the ad nauseum claims of "Anti-Semitism" over the Organ Trade dealings that were reported in Swedish newspapers; and lets not forget those grubby Rabbis in New Jersey and their illegal organ trading either. All of the "Israeli Outrage" when in fact, it was true all along and validation of this, by an Israeli Doctor no less. And proof has been sitting in the hands of a professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley since 2000.

Organ theft is a crime, just like the theft of anything else, albeit a morbid crime dealing with the most sacred thing, a humans body. However it is a crime and this is why claims of "Anti-Semitism" don't work on this issue, because the issue is a crime. however, this crime appears to be an international crime where Israel is concerned and as such should be investigated by the international community like any other widespread crime against humans perpetuated by an aggressive country. There are laws governing this and just as Israel ignores laws governing Geneva Convention, International Law, War Crimes and the like they also believe laws pertaining to organ theft don't apply to them either. Today's revelation:
link The chief Israeli pathologist and director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir, professor Yehuda Hiss, has admitted harvesting organs from the bodies of dead Palestinians without the consent of their families.

Read The Rest Here

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do You Remember What Angered Us – WMD Lies

Just in case you have forgotten why we all started to fight and wake up, and wake our friends and family up. This video is what angered me. While some of these people may never be charged, don’t ever let them forget that we believe they should be. If you ever get the opportunity to protest, sign a petition, or scream in their faces, you have every right to. – Orwell’s Dreams

For the VIDEO and Artickle with other Video Links Click Here

Bookmark and Share

2 US Jewish groups condemn settler attack on mosque

Yesterday the Orthodox Union condemned an attack by Jewish colonists on a mosque near Nablus in the West Bank, and said it is "beyond the pale." Yesterday, the ADL also condemned the vandalism.

That Jewish extremists may have used such despicable methods to express political opposition is beyond the pale. We join with Israel’s political, military and religious leadership in condemning this disgraceful assault.

A good start. Don’t expect ADL to change its focus, though.

Source: Mondoweiss

Bookmark and Share

Elie Wiesel's Indifference Promotes Genocide

Hedy Epstein, Holocaust survivor, along with a Palestinian woman, Sandra Mansour, and a peace activist, called on Elie Wiesel to come with them to Gaza on Dec. 1. "I heard you," Wiesel says curtly, and turns his head. This after a lot of bromides he issued about questioning and human equality, during his appearance at St. Louis University two weeks ago. Thanks to Anna Baltzer, Witness in Palestine.

Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor; J’Ann Allen, the wife of a retired military officer and Sandra Mansour, a Palestinian refugee, issued a public invitation to Elie Wiesel to go to Gaza with them.

This invitation was issued as he spoke before a standing-room crowd of around 2,800 people on Tuesday, December 1st, at St. Louis University.

Here is the complete text of Sandra's account:

Source: Mondoweiss

Bookmark and Share

I Shot the Sheriff?

After reading my first article on State Sovereignty by Sheriff Mack, letting it sink in slowly, and then, listening to his most recent podcast on TAC, I thought it time to speak up on the importance of the county sheriff from a concerned citizen’s point of view, as well as a strategic point of view.

There is no doubt this nation is at a “cross roads.” There is no doubt the states’ legislatures are speaking up against the federal government. There is no doubt the citizens are demanding the federal government’s respect of its Constitutional limitation on powers. So, what does the county sheriff have to do with any of this?

We, the people of our various states, have elected our sheriffs to preserve and protect our Constitutional rights. Classically, we see this role as being executing by protecting us from thieves and robbers and by exercising appropriate restraint to insure they do not violate our rights by conducting improper searches and seizures against us. A good sheriff does both of the above.

A great sheriff, however, goes beyond the two aforementioned roles. A great sheriff will stand on the side of the people who elect him or her, and do that which is necessary to preserve their rights.

Now, let me explain the reason for the catchy title of this brief article. If (or when) the people have a face-off with the federal government, and many ordinary citizens gather to demand their rights, what happens when words do not matter? On which side of the line would you want your sheriff standing? With the people, or against the people? I think we can all agree we want the sheriffs’ guns pointed away from us and not at us.

Clearly, the sheriff has an important decision to make when such events occur. One of the unfortunate things that has occurred over the decades is that the federal government has, in so many cases, been viewed, and accepted, as always on the right side. In so many cases, when federal law enforcement officials enter into matters of local jurisdiction, if our local officials are not “rubber-stamping” their actions, that is because they are busy rolling out the red carpets.

Sheriff Mack appears to be making a valiant effort to correct this misguided reception of federal influence. We, the people, elect our sheriffs. We do not elect federal law enforcement officials. We provide substantial tax dollars to our sheriffs, for the hiring of deputies and for properly equipping them to deal with out-of-control situations where ordinary citizens cannot.

Our sheriffs have quite an infrastructure in place. They are not our state representatives. They are the “guns” behind our state representatives. It is good to support action through our legislatures, and by all means, this should continue. But think about how important it is to have law enforcement, with its infrastructure in place, on our side. When words stop mattering, we just might find our sheriffs to be invaluable.

I urge citizens to promote our Constitutional causes by educating and offering assistance in any way we can. Our rights are not just about words and legislators. We must convince our sheriffs (if they are not already convinced) that they need to be on the side of the people. Our sheriffs need to hear from us. And, as usual, if we find complacent or uncommitted sheriffs, we need to vote them out.

We need to work with Sheriff Mack or at least parallel to him. Good job, Sheriff Mack!

Source: 10th AMendment Center

Bookmark and Share

London Police Continue War Against Photography

The promise to ease up on photographers in the United Kingdom has turned out to be just another government LIE. Police in London are continuing their war against photography as evidenced by this video.

According to the photographer who was a working journalist:

It had taken less than two minutes from the first click of my camera. My subject was the Gherkin, an iconic London landmark photographed hundreds of times a day and, as it turned out, the ideal venue to test claims from a growing number of photographers claiming they cannot take a picture in public without being harassed under anti-terrorist laws. [...]

By the time they looked at my images, threatening me with arrest for obstruction if I didn’t show them, the officers had stopped a second photographer.

Read The Rest At Orwell's Dreams

Bookmark and Share

Terror police to monitor nurseries for Islamic radicalisation

by Alex Ralph and Sean O’Neill

Nursery-age children should be monitored for signs of brainwashing by Islamist extremists, according to a leaked police memo obtained by The Times.

In an e-mail to community groups, an officer in the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit wrote: “I do hope that you will tell me about persons, of whatever age, you think may have been radicalised or be vulnerable to radicalisation … Evidence suggests that radicalisation can take place from the age of 4.”

The police unit confirmed that counter-terrorist officers specially trained in identifying children and young people vulnerable to radicalisation had visited nursery schools.

Read The Rest AT Orwell's Dreams

Bookmark and Share


by Becky Akers

We’re doomed: someone posted the pattern for Superman’s cape and a link to the manufacturer of its magic fabric on the net. That means bad guys with sewing machines and the desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound probably can after 15 minutes of cutting and stitching. Heck, the capes may even endow them with X-ray vision so they can peer through our clothing.

Oh, wait, bad guys already do that. And now they’re wiping egg off their faces after publishing online a classified manual detailing the highly hush-hush rigmarole for “airport security screening.” Supposedly rife with “sensitive security information,” these 93 pages confirm what we all know: anyone wearing a badge or one of the State’s unfashionable outfits glides past checkpoints without hassle from the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) goons. So do “foreign dignitaries equivalent to cabinet rank and above,” though these are the most dangerous sociopaths on the planet: they lie, steal, and start wars. Indeed, were you listing threats to the public’s safety, you’d begin with them and bubonic plague. Not the TSA. It grants these liars, thieves, and murderers a pass so LaWanda and her blue gloves can spend more time groping innocent taxpayers and passengers.

Read The Rest At Orwell's Dreams

Bookmark and Share

Extent of Blackwater and CIA Collaboration Uncovered

New details of Blackwater participation in clandestine CIA raids detail the extent to which private security contractors were involved in covert government antiterror operations.

According to former employees and current and former American intelligence officials, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because they feared repercussions, Blackwater security guards participated in clandestine raids to capture or kill suspected insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and in transportation of detainees on CIA flights.

The raids against suspects were said to occur almost nightly between 2004 and 2006, the height of the Iraqi insurgency. Several of the former Blackwater employees said the lines dividing the government-sanctioned agencies (the CIA and the military) and Blackwater began to blur.

This information highlights a more extensive relationship between the CIA and Blackwater, now re-named Xe Services, than government investigation had previously acknowledged.

This was confirmed recently by an article about Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, published in Vanity Fair. In it, Prince spoke about the extent of his involvement with the CIA, which ranged from putting together, funding and executing operations to bring personnel into "denied areas" to targeting specific people for assassination who were deemed enemies by the US government.

Though Prince alleged that he participated as a private citizen and used his personal funds to carry out operations, the Blackwater employees interviewed by The New York Times confirmed both their full knowledge of and participation in the raids.

Xe spokesman Mark Corallo, however, continued to deny this. "Blackwater USA was never under contract to participate in covert raids with CIA or Special Operations personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else."

Blackwater's initial connection with the CIA begin in the spring of 2002, when Prince offered to help guard an American government station in Afghanistan. Shortly after, he signed a contract for his employees, many of them former military personnel, to provide security for the area. Blackwater was also initially hired for security work in Iraq, and provided personnel accompaniment for CIA officers, meaning they were even present during offensive operations.

A former CIA official said that Blackwater's role became more comprehensive as the Bush administration's counter-terror efforts progressed. When the CIA banned its officers from leaving the Green Zone in Baghdad without security, they effectively allowed a Blackwater employee to be consistently armed and present.

"It became a very brotherly relationship," said one former top CIA officer. "There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency.

The program was kept secret for nearly eight years until it was revealed by CIA Director Leon Panetta during a closed door briefing to lawmakers. During this meeting, Panetta named both Prince and Blackwater as major players. "They were supposed to be the outer layer of the onion, out on the perimeter," said one former Blackwater official of the security guards. Instead, "they were the drivers and the gunslingers," a former intelligence official said.

According to current and former government officials, former Vice President Dick Cheney told CIA officers in 2002 that they did not need to inform Congress about the program because they were already legally authorized to kill al-Qaeda leaders.

Blackwater's history in Iraq and Afghanistan has been stormy. A shooting by Blackwater bodyguards in Baghdad in September 2009 resulted in the death of 17 civilians, and the Justice Department has since charged six people with voluntary manslaughter, among other offenses, calling the use of force both unjustified and unprovoked.

A contractor also shot and killed a man standing on a roadside who later turned out to be a father of six, and also killed a bodyguard who was assigned to protect Iraq's vice president. In both cases, the contractors were fired but not prosecuted.

Following these incidents, Iraqi officials have refused to give Blackwater an operating license. As a result of this, its revenue dropped 40 percent, and Prince says he is now paying more than $2 million a month in legal fees.

The company is also facing a grand jury investigation, bribery accusations, the voluntary-manslaughter trial of five ex-employees for Iraqis killed in September 2007 and the House Intelligence Committee is investigating the company's role in the CIA's assassination program.

American agencies have in the past outsourced interrogations, but many worry that contracting out the authority to kill brings a new set of problems.

George Little, a CIA spokesman, would not comment on Blackwater's ties to the agency. But he said the CIA employs contractors to "enhance the skills of our own work force, just as American law permits."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "It is too easy to contract out work that you don't want to accept responsibility for."

P.W. Singer, an expert in contracting at the Brookings Institution, said the types of jobs that have been outsourced by the government have severely undermined the rules surrounding "inherently governmental" functions.

"We keep finding functions that have been outsourced that common sense, let alone US government policy, would argue should not have been handed over to a private company," he said. "And yet we do it again, and again, and again."

Blackwater, which received more than $1.5 billion in government contracts between 2001 and 2009, regularly offers its training area in North Carolina to CIA operatives and continues to help fly killer drones along the border between and Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Obama is said to have authorized more than three dozen of these hits.

Source: Truthout
Bookmark and Share

UN Security Stops Journalist’s Questions About ClimateGate

A Stanford Professor has used United Nation security officers to silence a journalist asking him “inconvenient questions” during a press briefing at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Professor Stephen Schneider’s assistant requested armed UN security officers who held film maker Phelim McAleer, ordered him to stop filming and prevented further questioning after the press conference where the Stanford academic was launching a book.

McAleer, a veteran journalist and film maker, has recently made a documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong’ which takes a sceptical look at the science and politics behind Global Warming concerns.

He asked Professor Schneider about his opinions on Climategate – where leaked emails have revealed that a senior British professor deleted data and encouraged colleagues to do likewise if it contradicted their belief in Global Warming.

Professor Phil Jones, the head of Britain’s Climate Research Unit, has temporarily stood down pending an investigation into the scandal.

Professor Schneider, who is a senior member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said he would not comment on emails that may have been incomplete or edited.

During some testy exchanges with McAleer, UN officials and Professor Schneider’s assistants twice tried to cut short McAleer’s question.

However as the press conference drew to a close Professor Schneider’s assistant called armed UN security guards to the room. They held McAleer and aggressively ordered cameraman Ian Foster to stop filming. The guard threatened to take away the camera and expel the film crew from the conference if they did not obey his instructions to stop filming Professor Schneider.

The guard demanded to look at the film crews press credentials and refused to allow them to film until Professor Schneider left the room.
McAleer said he was disappointed by Professor Schneider’s behaviour.

“It was a press conference. Climategate is a major story – it goes to the heart of the Global Warming debate by calling into question the scientific data and the integrity of many scientists involved.”

“These questions should be answered. The attempts by UN officials and Professor Schneider’s assistant to remove my microphone were hamfisted but events took a more sinister turn when they called an armed UN security officer to silence a journalist.”

Two officers corralled the film crew and one officer can be seen on tape threatening the cameraman. The Guard can also be heard warning that if the crew did not stop filming their would seize the equipment and the journalists expelled from the conference.

McAleer says he has made an official complaint tabout the incident.

“I have met Mr Christopher Ankerson the UN’s head of security for the conference and he has confirmed it was Professor Schneider’s staff who asked the security guards to come corral us at the press conference. Mr Ankerson could not say what grounds the security guard had for ordering us to stop filming.”

“This is a blatant attempt to stop journalists doing journalism and asking hard questions. It is not the job of armed UN security officers to stop legitimate journalists asking legitimate questions of senior members of the UN’s IPCC.”

Professor Schneider was interviewed for McAleer’s “Not Evil Just Wrong” documentary but lawyers later wrote to McAleer saying he was withdrawing permission for the interview to be used.

McAleer, who is from Ireland, has gained quite a reputation for asking difficult questions of those who have been promoting the idea of man-made Global Warming.

His microphone was cut off after he asked former vice-president Al Gore about the British court case which found that An Inconvenient Truth had a nine significant errors and exaggerations. Almost 500,000 people have watched the incident on youtube.

Source: Big Government

Bookmark and Share

Rules of human decency apply to Israelis too

A dose of Israel’s own (academic) medicine might help the message sink in

By Stuart Littlewood

Stuart Littlewood argues that an academic boycott of Israel is now urgent in the light of an Israeli High Court ruling that the Israel occupation forces acted within their rights when they abducted, blindfolded, handcuffed and dumped in Gaza 21-year-old Palestinian student Berlanty Azzam just weeks before she was due to complete her degree at Bethlehem University in the occupied West Bank.

Poor Berlanty. What did she do to deserve this crushing blow to her hopes and life chances?

The Israeli High Court has denied Berlanty Azzam justice – again – and prevented her returning to Bethlehem University for the final few weeks to complete her degree.

On 28 October this Christian student at the Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University was abducted by the “Israel Defence Forces”, "the world's most moral army”, after attending a job interview in Ramallah, then blindfolded and handcuffed and dumped in Gaza. She had lived in the West Bank since 2005 after being granted a permit.

There was only one kind of permit available in 2005 – an entry permit to Israel. But the Israeli state claimed that this permit was insufficient and Berlanty should have obtained some other permit, even though the state admits that none existed at the time.

State representatives took her permit, a key piece of evidence, and never produced it to the court. After six weeks of double-talk the court accepted the state's claim that Berlanty entered the West Bank illegally. We hear a lot about how independent Israel’s justice system is. Here’s proof, if any were needed, that it is simply a tool of the military.

To avoid accusations that her residence was not Bethlehem, Berlanty had for the last four years resisted the temptation to return to Gaza and visit her folks. She and her parents submitted numerous applications to change the Gaza address recorded on her identity card to her actual place of residence, Bethlehem, but to no avail. Israel controls the Palestinian population registry and refuses to register changes in address from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank – another example of how Gazans are effectively imprisoned.

This, of course, is in breach of her human rights. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are internationally recognized as one integral territory and under international law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within a single territory. In 1999 Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) signed an agreement establishing a 28-mile road corridor giving Palestinians safe passage between the two parts of Palestine – yet another empty gesture.

“We are disappointed that the Israeli military and High Court have interfered with the Church’s educational mission at Bethlehem University by denying Berlanty to be brought back to Bethlehem to complete her studies,” said Brother Peter Bray, the vice chancellor, on hearing the court ruling. “We realize that Berlanty is one of the many people in Gaza who suffer so unjustly.”

Indeed. Since 2000 Israel has implemented a sweeping ban, preventing youngsters from Gaza from studying at Palestinian universities in the West Bank. A 2007 High Court decision determined that students from Gaza wishing to study in the West Bank should be allowed to do so “in cases that would have positive humanitarian implications”.

However, to the best of her legal team’s knowledge, since that judgment was handed down Israel hasn’t issued a single entry permit. Only last summer 12 students from Gaza were refused permits to study at Bethlehem University. Back in the late 1990s, about 1,000 students from Gaza studied in the West Bank, most of them in disciplines that are not offered in the Gaza Strip.

Like Berlanty, an estimated 25,000 people currently living in the West Bank have been declared "illegal" by Israel solely because the address on their identity card is in the Gaza Strip. Some of them have lived in the West Bank for decades but Israel simply does not recognize their right to be there. They are extremely limited in their daily movements and live in fear of being detained and “deported”, just as Berlanty was. Consequently they have very limited opportunities for employment, business and studies. This policy not only breaches Israel’s obligations under international to treat the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a “single territorial entity”, but it also chokes any prospect of healthy development in Palestinian society.

It is no use pretending that things will change – unless other countries give Israel a dose of its own medicine. How does the Berlanty case and the thousands like it sit with the great and the good who piously reject the idea of an academic boycott against Israel?

All political parties fight against such a boycott for muddle-headed reasons. The recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme uncovered the influence of the Israel lobby and its money on the Conservative Party. Another particularly obnoxious group that’s hopelessly out of touch with reality is the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI). At their party's conference they tabled a motion squashing an academic boycott, saying that "Israeli universities are centres of free debate and discussion and that the universities contain Jews, Muslims, Christians, Israelis and Palestinians. Furthermore, a boycott does nothing to resolve a negotiated solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and is indeed counter-productive as it discourages dialogue." This motion against the boycott was passed with an overwhelming majority.

The aim of the Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel is to “maximize support for the State of Israel within the party and Parliament” and “encourage a broad understanding of Israel’s unique political position as the only democracy in the Middle East”.

Their stated purpose is:

  • To influence the party’s Middle East policy so it places a high priority on Israel's right to peace and security.
  • To provide parliamentarians with briefing material for parliamentary debates, questions to ministers and public appearances.
  • To rebut attacks on Israel in the media, Parliament and the party.
  • To liaise with Israeli politicians and government.
  • To arrange and accompany LDFI delegations to Israel.
  • To keep in regular contact with the embassy of Israel.

In other words, they act as a prop within the British Parliament for this racist military regime.

Such blind allegiance and bizarre conduct contribute to the tragedy of Berlanty and countless other Palestinian youngsters. Without these beacons of misplaced support across the Western world lawless Israel would be sunk.

Source: Redress News

Bookmark and Share

Patriot Act Remains Unchallenged (So Far)

The FBI admitted, almost six years ago now, that they messed up when they came after Brandon Mayfield. They even apologized for insisting he had something to do with the terrorist bombing in Madrid that killed 191 and injured thousands.

Boy, were they barking up the wrong tree. Brandon Mayfield is a patriot, an Army veteran, and a lawyer who makes a point of representing indigent defendants. The only thing Mayfield ever did "wrong" was convert to the Muslim religion. And that, he says, is exactly why the FBI convinced themselves that was HIS fingerprint found at the Madrid bomb site, even when Spanish authorities told them they were wrong.

The FBI used the Patriot Act to throw Mayfield in jail, and "sneak and peek" and electronically eavesdrop on the Mayfield family.

They leaked reports to the media that Mayfield was responsible for the Madrid bombing and locked him up for two weeks as a "material witness." They thoroughly searched Mayfield’s property: "What are these Spanish documents?!" The answer was, "That’s my son’s homework from Spanish class."

A likely story.

Eventually Mayfield and his family settled with the FBI. They accepted $2 million and an apology, but Mayfield insisted on retaining the right to challenge the constitutionality of the Patriot Act. He filed that suit immediately, and a U.S. District Judge ruled in the Mayfields’ favor in 2007. Of course the Bush administration appealed.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled December 10 that Mayfield has no standing to pursue the suit because “his injuries already have been substantially redressed by the settlement agreement, and a declaratory judgment would not likely impact him or his family.”

Illegal search and seizure, schmillegal schmearch and schmeizure, says the court.

Mayfield’s lawyer, Elden Rosenthal, is not pleased. "We strongly disagree with the appeal court’s decision," he told the Oregonian. "The law is not always just, the courts are not always right. What is right here is that American citizens are entitled to protection from an oppressive government. What is wrong here is that the right was not provided."

The Mayfield family still has the option of appealing their case to the Supreme Court, but they haven’t made that decision yet. They’re still reeling from this week’s decision by the Court of Appeals.

Brandon Mayfield committed the egregious sin of being a Muslim. His son compounded this vicious terrorist act by studying Spanish in school. It was Mayfield’s hope that through his lawsuit he could protect other Americans from suffering the persecution his family endured. But in the wake of the circuit court’s decision, the Patriot Act lives on – due to a technicality.

Watch our 2005 video about the Brandon Mayfield case.

Source: The Daily Censored

Bookmark and Share